Chances are you’ve already heard plenty of reasons to scare you from having sex — particularly if you are a woman or a homosexual male. All over the planet we’ve got rules about what we shouldn’t be doing and whom we shouldn’t be doing.
What are some of the things about sex you’re supposed to fear?
- Rape (apparently, ladies, if you have sex or even flirt with a guy, then you’re probably asking for sex with anyone at anytime)
- AIDS (yeah, I know, similar to #3 but this one has historically been directed towards gay males)
- Being labeled a slut or a manwhore (they even have a sort of slut IQ test for it now)
- Not being able to have a family (if you like to have sex with people of your same sex)
At a place like Brown, most of us can shrug off the critics and decide for ourselves which risks we’re comfortable taking. There is, however, one fear voiced quite frequently at Brown and it’s this:
Ruining your chances of establishing a meaningful relationship with someone.
Ah yes, the age-old dilemma: You like someone and want to sleep with him/her, but if you do, will that person like you less for it? Is there a correlation between how long we wait it out and how long our relationship will last?
I’ve slept with a number of guys. I’ve also been in a number of serious relationships. And here’s what I can tell you: it just depends.
Exhibit A: Ryan. He and I waited an entire year before we had sex. In this case, postponing sex helped us establish a deep emotional connection first. We had sex but he didn’t like me any less or any more for it. Intercourse was like a cherry on top of an already delicious cake, rather than the centerpiece of our relationship.
Exhibit B: Mark. I waited to have sex with him, too. But he dumped me before we ever got in bed. Waiting didn’t make him like me more. At the end of the day, we weren’t compatible. Had I had sex with him right away or decided to wait longer, it wouldn’t have changed a thing. As Samantha Jones brilliantly puts it in one Sex and the City episode: “A guy could just as easily dump you if you fuck him on the first date as he can if you wait until the tenth.”
Exhibit C: Steven. He and I had a great connection, and I did that utterly dreadful thing — I slept with him on the first date. But guess what? He didn’t run away! The next morning, we shared breakfast and then the next nine months, in a very happy monogamous relationship.
The bottom line? Every partnership is different. Sometimes, waiting to have sex is a recipe for a successful relationship. Other times, having sex right away will take you there, too. In the end, I’ve learned that the best thing is to focus on yourself. I have sex to fulfill my own pleasure, not to make someone else like me.
Just like I do not sleep with someone in hopes that he will like me more, I do not fear that sleeping with him with make him like me less. I do it because it feels good and I follow my gut to trust when the timing is right.
So is there such a thing as “too soon”? Is there a correlation between waiting and having a meaningful relationship? It really just depends. I know that’s not the answer you were looking for. In this busy modern world, we need hard and fast rules to keep us going. But you just have to trust me. Really, it just depends.
Until next time,
Questions or comments for Heather? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your secret is safe with her!